Settling down in a new place can always be a daunting task, but it gets harder when you don’t know the language or the people. It’s not easy to start from scratch.
Just recently, my wife, my 2year daughter and I moved to
as part of my job. The
first thing most of us do, after landing and getting some rest is grocery
Once a very simple and routine task for us turned into a technology assisted event that involved Goggle translate and Google images to communicate with the people around us.
The spices were the toughest to manage on our own because most of them were in boxes and had images that looked nothing like the spices inside or the one’s we were used to and everything was written in German but we managed with the help of technology.
However, the real task of grocery shopping was still ahead… finding halal food. It’s not just about the properly sacrificed chicken and meat. At the end of the day, if you’re really one to be concerned about eating halal, you have to be careful of the gelatin products and preservatives as well. This is where it gets interesting for us.
My wife and I were searching for strawberry jam and trying to read the German labels but were failing miserably and almost lost hope that we’d be able to select the right brand, until my wife noticed a young lady with a Hijab close by. The lady spoke English relatively well and was also fluent in German. We asked her if she knew of any halal strawberry jam. She immediately smiled and came over to assist us. That was a simple thing you can expect from anyone, nothing surprising about it, but what she did next was not something I expect every other person to do for a stranger.
She not only helped us with the strawberry jam, but made an effort to help us understand the brands that we should buy in terms of quality and not just based on them being halal. She went around the store with us telling us what the translation on every pack was, she helped us to pick up the right kind of canned vegetables, the best quality flour, sugar, baby food, you name it and she was there to offer help. With every product she was also explaining the language used on them.
This lady, who we had never met before in our lives, saw that we were lost and offered to help us above and beyond our request. At one point we thought we were done and we thanked her continuously for all her help and a couple of minutes later she came back with another item of food that my wife had enquired about but we couldn’t find at the time. She smiled and said embarrassingly “I’m sorry but I just want to try and help you as much as I can that’s what we need to do for one another (as Muslims)”.
Here we were thinking that we were alone in this country and suddenly another Muslim is there to help us out. Before her, we were asking shoppers to help us translate the labels, but all the previous people simply translated what we asked and moved on, none of them thought that we would need more help.
However, this woman, made an effort… was she just a good human being or was it the feeling of helping another Muslim out?
I’d like to believe that it was her faith that made her feel the need to help us out more than we had initially requested. I’d like to believe that there are more such Muslims out there than the ones portrayed on every news channel. I’d like to believe that if given the chance, I would do the same for another person, whether he’s Muslim or not because my faith teaches me to be kind and helpful. I’d like to believe that this is the real example of Muslims that should be portrayed more and more on media.
Image credits: http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2013/04/29/3747543.htm